THE Victorian Government this week released the first ever long-term strategy for public transport in regional Victoria, titled 'Connecting Regional Victoria – Victoria's Regional Network Development Plan'.
The Regional Network Development Plan (RNDP) sets out a short, medium and long-term plan for more trains, improved stations and better bus and coach services, to get people where they need to go quickly, reliably and safely in regional Victoria.
According to the government, it moves away from ad hoc public transport improvements, to a more coordinated public transport network where trains, buses and coaches all work together to get people where they need to go.
The RNDP outlines the series of infrastructure and rolling stock improvements required to deliver commuter-style services to Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Seymour and Traralgon – including track upgrades, better signalling and new trains and stabling.
In the long term, the goal of the RNDP is to deliver trains at least every 20 minutes in the peak and every 40 minutes off-peak to these major regional centres, and five services, five days a week on the outer regional lines of Warrnambool, Bairnsdale, Albury-Wodonga, Echuca, Swan Hill and Shepparton.
Regional coaches will be improved, with more services, better interchanges and a comprehensive review of routes, to improve connections between towns and major regional centres. Local bus services will also be reviewed and improved, to ensure bus networks grow and change as regional communities do.
The RNDP also sets out plans for future improvements to ticketing on regional services, better passenger information, and major improvements to rail freight to support jobs and our regional economy.
More information is available from the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources website at <http://transport.vic.gov.au/rndp>.